Yes, here it is, another attempt at keeping a year list. I started keeping year lists – not just blogging about them but really keeping track of what I see each year – as late as 2012, roughly 30 years into my birding career. Back then, in 2012, the motivation was to have something nice to blog about and to show Corey how the cow eats the cabbage since he was seeing too many good species too easily. Therefore, the 2012 list itself was never the focus of my year listing, it was competition and blogging. I realized around 10 months into my first year-list-year that the competitive part is nothing I enjoy. Of course I still beat Corey – three years in a row, mwahahaaaar – but this was the first time ever I experienced pressure in my birding and I didn’t like this one tiny bit. So very soon, the “competition” element was scrapped from my list of reasons to keep a year list. What was left? The blogging element. Therefore, I started to turn my year list into something people would find pleasurable to read. Endless lists of what someone you likely don’t even know and will never meet in your life saw is not something people enjoy. Therefore, I greatly expanded the structure of my year list in 2013 to include maps, statistics and a diary. This was fun. And a lot of work. I was able to maintain the new structure in the 2014 list, and this was a mighty fine birding year in all aspects. However, I started to fail in the following year, and my blog post on 2015 is still – to this day – incomplete. And 2016? Well, I started the post, but I stopped at the end of January and it has joined the ranks of this blog’s eternal drafts. This year however, I really, really want to keep a list again, on this blog. Of course I have to make a few changes in order to give me a realistic chance to maintain the list throughout the year. I failed twice in a row and am too old to be idealistic. Now, I really like the 2013 layout and am planning on keeping it, but I’ll make the diary shorter this year and will keep the list in chronologic order instead of systematic. I am not entirely sure if I am going to include a graph of my species total since I will not define a numerical goal.

I always defined birding goals in previous year lists, but again these goals add pressure to the hobby and are thus a complete no-go. Furthermore, too much of my birding activity depends on the will and want of forces outside my sphere of influence, so even defining a minimum total number or a number of lifers is moot. Therefore, this year’s goal is simple:

In 2017, I want to enjoy birds as much as possible.



01 Jan: a busy day, leaving the island of Sylt in the early morning for the long drive back to Heidelberg. In horrendous weather, I manage to successfully chase a long-staying Sabine’s Gull at Hauke-Haine-Koog, a desperately-awaited lifer.
16 Jan: a boring train ride to attend a meeting in Bonn. Nevertheless, I manage to see three Waxwings flying by the conference centre, which saves the day and makes me happy.

Bird of the month: Sabine’s Gull – an easy choice made even more easy by the fact that it was found during my only birding trip in January.


04 Jan: A nice few hours at a former quarry about an hour away nets me a few nice first-of-years, like Black Woodpecker and Common Raven.
16 Feb: I have to attend a Seminar near Karlsruhe all week and am trapped inside a darkened room during the first week of sunny weather we’ve seen in Ages. However, one fine lunch break I slip out for half an hour for a small walk, with Skylarks flying over.
19 Feb: A business trip to France offers the chance of a quick visit to a nearby large lake, where waterfowl abounds, amongs them a group of 4 Smew – 3 females and a fine male. Further on into France, an endless stream of Cranes heads north-east into Germany. Spring has sprung.
20 Feb: You know you have come to a cool site (near Paris) when Cirl Buntings are part of your front-lawn avifauna.
21 Feb: The drive back to Germany is less exciting but I do see my first Red Kites for the year. Another early spring indicator.
26 – 28 Feb: A very short but marvelous family trip to the heights of the northern Black Forest is a bit too early in the year for some of the specials but nevertheless allows me to encounter a few exciting mountain species, like Spotted Nutcracker and Three-toed Woodpecker.

I managed to not take a single bird picture in February, so this landscape shot of the Schliffkopf summit will have to fill that space, a place where I saw Red Crossbills and Meadow Pipits for the first time this year.


12 Mar: Boy, the birding year is slow as I can’t find the time to actually get out and see stuff. A nice short walk through the vineyards outside Rohrbach/Heidelberg produces some first-of-years, like Chiffchaff and Blackcap.
20-24 Mar: my first big road trip of the year, from the lower Rhine towards Münster and Berlin, with some grand observations and my almost-yearly visit of the Great Bustards.

The effect of a low-flying Red Kite on Greater White-fronted Geese, lower Rhine in Germany. The lower Rhine is one of Germany’s finest destinations for enjoying wild geese but I was there a tad too late, only managing more than 1,000 rather than a couple 10,000s.


Birding activities in Germany (generated with


Species List

The species list is in chronologic order, mostly because it is easier this way for me to update it and also because this reflects the spirit of a year list better than taxonomic order. Lifers are in red.

Abbreviations for German “Bundesländer” (states, provinces)
BB = Brandenburg
BW = Baden-Württemberg
NRW = Nordrhein-Westfalen
RP = Rheinland-Pfalz
SH = Schleswig-Holstein
SL = Saarland

  1.  Tundra Bean Goose, Anser serrirostrisSylt and Westcoast SH, Germany – 01 Jan
  2. Greater White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  3. Greylag Goose, Anser anser
  4. Brant Goose, Branta bernicla
  5. Barnacle Goose, Branta leucopsis
  6. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  7. Common Shelduck, Tadorna tadorna
  8. Gadwall, Anas strepera
  9. Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope
  10. Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
  11. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  12. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  13. Common Teal, Anas crecca
  14. Common Pochard, Aythya ferina
  15. Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula
  16. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  17. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  18. Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator
  19. Common Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
  20. Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea
  21. Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
  22. White-tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla
  23. Northern Harrier, Circus cyaneus
  24. Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo
  25. Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
  26. Northern Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
  27. Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola
  28. Eurasian Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
  29. Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta
  30. Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata
  31. Red Knot, Calidris canutus
  32. Dunlin, Calidris alpina
  33. Sabine’s Gull, Xema sabini
  34. Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
  35. Mew Gull, Larus canus
  36. Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
  37. Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus
  38. Common Wood Pigeon, Columba palumbus
  39. Eurasian Magpie, Pica pica
  40. Western Jackdaw, Corvus monedula
  41. Carrion Crow, Corvus corone
  42. Eurasian Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes
  43. Common Blackbird, Turdus merula
  44. Eurasian Rock Pipit, Anthus petrosus
  45. Common Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs
  46. European Greenfinch, Chloris chloris
  47. Eurasian Siskin, Spinus spinus
  48. Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 02 Jan
  49. Eurasian Blue Tit, Cyanistes caeruleus
  50. Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris
  51. Redwing, Turdus iliacus
  52. Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos
  53. Common Pigeon, Columba livia Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 03 Jan
  54. Rose-ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri
  55. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
  56. European Robin, Erithacus rubecula
  57. Great Tit, Parus major Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 04 Jan
  58. House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
  59. European Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 05 Jan
  60. Rook, Corvus frugilegus
  61. Common Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  62. Short-toed Treecreeper, Certhia brachydactyla
  63. Eurasian Nuthatch, Sitta europaea
  64. Eurasian Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
  65. Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
  66. Egyptian Goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca
  67. European Crested Tit, Lophophanes cristatus – Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 07 Jan
  68. Eurasian Jay, Garrulus glandarius Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 09 Jan
  69. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 10 Jan
  70. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 12 Jan
  71. Bohemian Waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus near Bonn NRW, Germany – 16 Jan
  72. Tawny Owl, Strix aluco Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 18 Jan
  73. Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 19 Jan
  74. White Stork, Ciconia ciconia Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 21 Jan
  75. Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 24 Jan
  76. White Wagtail, Motacilla alba Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 25 Jan
  77. European Green Woodpecker, Picus viridis Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 28 Jan
  78. Coal Tit, Periparus ater Heidelberg/Leimen BW, Germany – 30 Jan
  79. Eurasian Bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula
  80. Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus
  81. Black Woodpecker, Dryocopus martius – Helmhof BW, Germany – 4 Feb
  82. Marsh Tit, Poecile palustris
  83. Common Goldcrest, Regulus regulus
  84. Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella
  85. Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes
  86. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  87. Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus – Heidelberg BW, Germany, 9 Feb
  88. Stock Dove, Columba oenas  – Heidelberg BW, Germany, 12 Feb
  89. Eurasian Skylark, Alauda arvensis – near Karlsruhe BW, Germany, 16 Feb
  90. Red-crested Pochard, Netta rufina – Roxheimer Altrhein and Silbersee RP, Germany, 19 Feb
  91. Smew, Mergellus albellus
  92. Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
  93. Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus
  94. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos minor
  95. Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos medius
  96. Grey-headed Woodpecker, Picus canus
  97. Common Crane, Grus grus – near Saarbrücken SL, Germany, 19 Feb
  98. Cirl Bunting, Emberiza cirlus – Guerville, France, 20 Feb
  99. Firecrest, Regulus ignicapilla
  100. Red Kite, Milvus milvus – somewhere along the autoroute, northern France, 21 Feb
  101. Woodlark, Lullula arborea
  102. European Stonechat, Saxicola rubicola
  103. Eurasian Pygmy Owl, Glaucidium passerinum – northern Black Forest, BW, Germany 26-28 Feb
  104. Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus
  105. Spotted Nutcracker, Nucifraga caryocatactes
  106. Eurasian Treecreeper, Certhia familiaris
  107. Meadow Pipit, Anthus pratensis
  108. Red Crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
  109. Common Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita – Heidelberg BW, Germany, 12 Mar
  110. Eurasian Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
  111. European Serin, Serinus serinus
  112. Red-necked Grebe, Podiceps grisegena – road trip lower Rhine, Münster and Brandenburg, NRW/BB, Germany 20-24 Mar
  113. Black Kite, Milvus migrans
  114. Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
  115. Great Bustard, Otis tarda
  116. Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis
  117. Caspian Gull, Larus cachinnans
  118. Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus
  119. Alexandrine Parakeet, Psittacula eupatria
  120. Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Bubo bubo
  121. White-throated Dipper, Cinclus cinclus
  122. Corn Bunting, Emberiza calandra
  123. Common Linnet, Carduelis cannabina
  124. Willow Tit, Poecile montanus – Heidelberg BW, Germany, 26 Mar
  125. Osprey, Pandion haliaetus – Heidelberg BW, Germany, 01 Apr
  126. Blue-headed Wagtail, Motacilla flava – Schmiechener See BW, Germany, 26 Apr
  127. Water Pipit, Anthus spinoletta
  128. Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar – near Aqtau, Kazakhstan 08-12 May
  129. Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus
  130. Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus
  131. Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus
  132. Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus
  133. Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
  134. Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni
  135. Saker Falcon, Falco cherrug
  136. Eurasian Stone-curlew, Burhinus oedicnemus
  137. Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii
  138. Caspian Plover, Charadrius asiaticus
  139. Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus
  140. Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
  141. Little Stint, Calidris minuta
  142. Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
  143. Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
  144. White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
  145. Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybrida
  146. Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pterocles orientalis
  147. Little Owl, Athene noctua
  148. Long-eared Owl, Asio otus
  149. Alpine Swift, Apus melba
  150. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus
  151. European Bee-eater, Merops apiaster
  152. European Roller, Coracias garrulus
  153. Eurasian Hoopoe, Upupa epops
  154. Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio
  155. Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor
  156. Eurasian Golden Oriole, Oriolus oriolus
  157. Brown-necked Raven, Corvus ruficollis
  158. Calandra Lark, Melanocorypha calandra
  159. Bimaculated Lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata
  160. Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
  161. Lesser Short-toed Lark, Alaudala rufescens
  162. Crested Lark, Galerida cristata
  163. White-winged Lark, Alauda leucoptera
  164. Mongolian Horned Lark, Eremophila brandti
  165. Sykes’s Warbler, Iduna rama
  166.  Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Iduna pallida
  167. Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus dumetorum
  168. Central Asian Whitethroat, Sylvia halimodendri
  169. Desert Warbler Sylvia nana
  170. Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
  171. Finsch’s Wheatear, Oenanthe finschii
  172. Pied Wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka
  173. Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
  174. Rosy Starling, Pastor roseus
  175. Black-headed Wagtail, Motacilla feldegg
  176. Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris
  177. Red-throated Pipit, Anthus cervinus
  178. Red-headed Bunting, Emberiza bruniceps
  179. Desert Finch, Rhodospiza obsoleta
  180. Rock Sparrow, Petronia petronia
  181. Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis – Almaty, Kazakhstan 12 May
  182. Masked Wagtail, Motacilla personata
  183. Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax – near Shymkent, Kazakhstan 13-17 May
  184. Black Stork, Ciconia nigra
  185. Black-eared Kite, Milvus lineatus
  186. Bearded Vulture, Gypaetus barbatus
  187. Himalayan Vulture, Gyps himalayensis
  188. Cinereous Vulture, Aegypius monachus
  189. Short-toed Snake Eagle, Circaetus gallicus
  190. Shikra, Accipiter badius
  191. Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus
  192. Oriental Turtle Dove, Streptopelia orientalis
  193. Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis
  194. Eurasian Scops Owl, Otus scops
  195. European Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
  196. Red-tailed Shrike, Lanius phoenicuroides
  197. Indian Golden Oriole Oriolus kundoo
  198. Oriental Skylark, Alauda gulgula
  199. Red-rumped Swallow, Cecropis daurica
  200. White-crowned Penduline Tit, Remiz coronatus
  201. Cetti’s Warbler, Cettia cetti
  202. Siberian Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus (collybita) tristis
  203. Hume’s Leaf Warbler, Phylloscopus humei
  204. Greenish Warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides
  205. Menetries’s Warbler, Sylvia mystacea
  206. Hume’s Whitethroat, Sylvia althaea
  207. Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Monticola saxatilis
  208. Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
  209. Rock Bunting, Emberiza cia
  210. White-capped Buntin, Emberiza stewarti
  211. Grey-necked Bunting, Emberiza buchanani
  212. Ortolan Bunting, Emberiza hortulana
  213. Mongolian Finch, Bucanetes mongolicus
  214. Little Egret, Egretta garzetta Astana, Kazakhstan, 18 May
  215. Little Gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
  216. Steppe Gull, Larus barabensis
  217. Azure Tit, Cyanistes cyanus
  218. Paddyfield Warbler, Acrocephalus agricola
  219. Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
  220. Black-headed Wagtail, Motacilla feldegg
  221. Garganey, Anas querquedula – Bukhtarma, East Kazakhstan, 18-21 May
  222. Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix
  223. Crested Honey Buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus
  224. Eastern Imperial Eagle, Aquila heliaca
  225. Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus
  226. Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
  227. Eurasian Wryneck, Jynx torquilla
  228. Hooded Crow, Corvus cornix
  229. Pale Martin, Riparia diluta
  230. Yellow-browed Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus
  231. Lanceolated Warbler, Locustella lanceolata
  232. Siberian Stonechat, Saxicola maurus
  233. Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla tschutschensis
  234. Citrine Wagtail, Motacilla citreola
  235. Asian Buff-bellied Pipit, Anthus rubescens japonicus
  236. Meadow Bunting, Emberiza cioides
  237. Scopoli’s Shearwater, Calonectris diomedeaItalian Riviera and Switzerland 09-17 June
  238. Northern Gannet, Sula bassana
  239. European Shag, Phalacrocorax aristotelis
  240. Western Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis
  241. Honey Buzzard, Pernis apivorus
  242. Sandwich Tern, Sterna sandvicensis
  243. Pallid Swift, Apus pallidus
  244. Crag Martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris
  245. Sardinian Warbler, Sylvia melanocephala
  246. Italian Sparrow, Passer italiae
  247. Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus – near Caen, Normandy, France 26-30 Jun
  248. Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
  249. Mediterranean Gull, Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
  250. Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
  251. Melodious Warbler, Hippolais polyglotta
Written by Jochen
Jochen Roeder was born in Germany and raised to be a birder. He also spent a number of years abroad, just so he could see more birds. One of his most astounding achievements is the comprehension that Yellow-crowned Night-herons do not exist, as he failed to see any despite birding in North America for more than two years. He currently lives near Heidelberg, one of the most boring places for a birder to live, a fact about which he likes to whinge a lot. When he is not birding or trying to convince his teenage son that patiently scanning some fields for migrants is more fun than staring at a smartphone, he enjoys contemplating the reasoning behind the common names of birds. He first became famous in the bird blog world on Bell Tower Birding.